Wednesday, November 6, 2013

If You Like Your Plan You Can Keep It

Unbelievable.  I kept hearing on the TV that the White House had not changed their webpage despite all the hoopla. So I decided to look, and I discovered that the Obama Ministry of Truth had not updated the website to a revisionist mantra.  What is also interesting, in perusing the website, no mention was made concerning the health insurance cancellations.

Link to: "If you like your plan you can keep it and you don’t have to change a thing due to the health care law.".  As they say in the commercials, hurry this is a limited time offer that will soon disappear.  Amazing that this assertion is still up and available for all to inspect the lie. Seems that Obama's Ministry of Truth needs to undertake some website revisions to disappear the disingenuous promise.

I also located this U-tube video: Cornyn, Sebelius spar over "keep your plan" promise.  Cornyn asks Sebelius if the statement that: "if you like your plan you can keep it" was true. Sebelius refuses to acknowledge that people are having their health coverage canceled. Furthermore she obfuscates her response by asserting that some people are in other types of plans and that others would have the "opportunity" to enroll in better plans. So getting your health insurance plan cancelled is really an "opportunity". The knowing deceit, cover-up, and denial by the Obama administration continues.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Obama's Broken Promise

Mr. Cilliza, a Washington Post apologist for Obama, acknowledged that Obama had a broken promise moment in his opinion piece: Who had the worst week in Washington? President Obama.

The "good news" is that an Obama apologist acknowledged that Obama misspoke, a euphemism for lying.

The "bad news" is that Mr. Cillizza totally ignored the fact that the Obama administration knew millions could not keep their health insurance for at least three years and that the promise would be eventually broken. As this story of deceit unwinds, Mr. Thiessen, another Post opinion writer observed that the Obama administration is a: A dishonest presidency.  Mr. Thiessen in that article referenced the The Wall Street Journal article: "Aides Debated Obama Coverage Promise" (November 1, 2013). (Unfortunately this story is behind the WSJ pay-wall). Based on the accumulating evidence, one can't simply dismiss this broken promise as being inconsequential. It was a planned deceitful act.

Obama lied and lied again to get re-elected and to mislead the electorate concerning the undesirable effects of ACA. If Obama, the ("transparent" and "above politics") messiah knowingly lies to you and misleads you, I would have expected Mr. Cillizza to have been outraged that the messiah, despite his prostrations, would have voluntarily descended into crass partisian venal politics. Doesn't Mr. Cilliza feel betrayed by this deceit?

Updated: 11/5/2013

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Obama's Lying Earns Four Pinocchios

Glenn Kessler, the fact checker for the Washington Post, gave Obama four Pinocchios for misleading the American public.  Obama’s pledge that ‘no one will take away’ your health plan. Below is a short excerpt from Glenn's article. Please read the full article.
"The president’s pledge that “if you like your insurance, you will keep it” is one of the most memorable of his presidency. It was also an extraordinarily bold — and possibly foolish — pledge, unless he thought he simply could dictate exactly how the insurance industry must work. ...
One might excuse the president for making an aspirational pledge as the health-care bill was being drafted, but it turns out he kept saying it after the bill was signed into law. By that point, there should have been no question about the potential impact of the law on insurance plans, especially in the individual market. ...
The administration is defending this pledge with a rather slim reed — that there is nothing in the law that makes insurance companies force people out of plans they were enrolled in before the law passed. That explanation conveniently ignores the regulations written by the administration to implement the law. Moreover, it also ignores the fact that the purpose of the law was to bolster coverage and mandate a robust set of benefits, whether someone wanted to pay for it or not.
The president’s statements were sweeping and unequivocal — and made both before and after the bill became law. The White House now cites technicalities to avoid admitting that he went too far in his repeated pledge, which, after all, is one of the most famous statements of his presidency.
The president’s promise apparently came with a very large caveat: “If you like your health care plan, you’ll be able to keep your health care plan — if we deem it to be adequate.
I would encourage you to read the full article. Glenn, for example, did make what I believe to be a dubious assertion.  Glenn wrote: "Moreover, it’s certainly incorrect to claim, as some Republicans have, that people are losing insurance coverage. Instead, in virtually all cases, it’s being replaced with probably better (and possibly more expensive) insurance." Getting "cancelled" and being forced into a "replacement" plan (that may be more expensive, even if better) is not keeping "your health plan".

Monday, October 28, 2013

Obama Adminstration Finally Admits it Lied That Everyone Would be Able to Keep Their Health Plan

Finally, after years of stonewalling, Carney admitted that not everyone would be able to keep their health-care plans despite the faux Obama assurances that they would. To bad this deception didn't reach the public consciousness during the November 2012 Presidential election or in October 2013 during the Obama induced government shutdown fiasco.  Click on the link below to read the Washington Times article.

"The White House acknowledged for the first time Monday that President Obama's oft-repeated promise that everyone can keep their health-insurance plans under Obamcare just isn’t true.

For more than three years as he worked to pass the Affordable Care Act and encouraged people to enroll, Mr. Obama routinely pledged that people could keep their doctor and their plan if they liked them.

“If you like your health care plan, you will be able to keep your health care plan. Period,” Mr. Obama said in June 2009. Later that year he proclaimed, “Nothing in our plan requires you to change what you have.”"

Unbelievably, even NBC News, which tends to blindly endorse Obama, reported: "Obama admin. knew millions could not keep their health insurance".

"President Obama repeatedly assured Americans that after the Affordable Care Act became law, people who liked their health insurance would be able to keep it. But millions of Americans are getting or are about to get cancellation letters for their health insurance under Obamacare, say experts, and the Obama administration has known that for at least three years."

While on the topic of purposeful misleading rhetoric to blatantly solicit votes, the Washington Times also re-published Obama's infamous "deficits are a failure of leadership" speech.

The fact that we are here today to debate raising America’s debt limit is a sign of leadership failure. It is a sign that the U.S. government can’t pay its own bills. It is a sign that we now depend on ongoing financial assistance from foreign countries to finance our government’s reckless fiscal policies. Over the past five years, our federal debt has increased by $3.5 trillion to $8.6 trillion. That is ‘trillion’ with a ‘T.’ That is money that we have borrowed from the Social Security trust fund, borrowed from China and Japan, borrowed from American taxpayers. And over the next five years, between now and 2011, the president’s budget will increase the debt by almost another $3.5 trillion."

The national debt, in October 2013, just passed 17 Trillion dollars.  Since being elected Obama changed his tune and now refuses to address deficit spending and even dissed various proposals to reduce deficit spending. By the time Obama leaves office in 2016, the National debt is projected to exceed 20 Trillion dollars.

Seems that the American public has been bamboozled by Obama's false assertions of "transparency" and being above petty partisan "above politics".

Friday, October 25, 2013

Obama - The Government Shutdown and the Affordable Care Act

The roll-out of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) has proven to be less than stellar. Clearly, the ACA was not ready for prime-time. This opinion piece is not about the numerous flaws of the ACA or the growing failure of the roll-out, but a reflection on the detestable partisan political games being played by the Democrats.

In October, the deadlines on the government spending authorizations and the National debt ceiling were under heated debate. The pending failure of the ACA was just begging to simmer. Within context of the debate, one of the topics under consideration was the funding and/or delaying implementation of the individual mandate of the ACA. The Obama administration said NO to negotiations and shutdown the government. The Democrats, like sheep, simply went along with the Obama mantra. The Republicans unfortunately caved. The Democrats then asserted how the American people won because the Republicans were duly trounced.

Unbelievably, now that the Democrats have knee-capped the Republicans, some Democrats in the name of protecting the American people want to delay implementing the ACA!!!!!!  I assume that the Democrats will now assert that delaying implementing the ACA was really their genius inspiration to improve the ACA. Washington Post (October 25, 2013) article by Aaron Blake:"10 Senate Democrats sign Shaheen letter pushing for open enrollment extension".

Where were these Democrats when the spending/debt issues were being vigorously discussed?  Essentially, the Democrats (hypothetically) participated in letting an "innocent" person get ostracized and vilified. Now that the innocent person (beaten, bruised, and in torn rags) is writhing in the gutter, the Democrats come forward with great faux solemnity advocating that the ACA enrollment period needs to be extended for the benefit of the American people. Hypocrites. Below are some reader comments that were made on Mr. Blake's article.

n_slash_a commented: "Seriously!? Just just a week ago these same Democrats were saying that Republicans were "destroying America" for suggesting delaying Obamacare! Two-faced traitorous hypocrites!!"

DrEvil007 commented: "I guess this means these 10 tolerant, open minded, intelligent Democrats have been transformed into intoloerant, ignorant racists since anyone who has demonstrated any resistance to assimilation into the Obamacare collective was labeled as such. It would have been nice if they went along with the Republicans lead and the government slowdown could have been avoided. How bad is this that theses 10 Democratic Senators are trying to delay it?"

bhughes3, concerning motivation of the Senators who signed, commented: "That's right, so their constituency won't hang them or burn them at the stakes. Which will happen anyway."

Obama himself has demonstrated duplicity.  On one had he asserted that the ACA was not on the negotiating table. Consequently Obama refused to discuses anything concerning the ACA with the Republicans.  Yet Obama has made and continues to make unilateral decisions, without consulting Congress, on delaying, modifying, waiving portions of the ACA as he sees fit. Now that the Republicans have caved, Obama has extended the enrollment period. Washington Post article: "Americans will have an extra six weeks to buy health coverage before facing penalty". Obama could have negotiated such an agreement with the Republican to avoid the government shutdown.  While extending this deadline, may be well within Obama's executive authority, it nevertheless is another demonstration of Obama's "kingship".

Friday, October 18, 2013

Republicans Cave

An unfortunate decision on the part of the Republicans.  Whether it was the "correct" decision, I won't speculate.  The Republicans evidently had an alternative strategy which made much sense. To give Obama his clean spending resolution which would have allowed the increasing negative publicity surrounding the "Affordable Care Act" take center stage and make the headlines.  Instead, Republican intransigence became the headline thereby minimizing the the public's awareness of the negative publicity surrounding the apparent  implementation failure of the "Affordable Care Act".

Nevertheless, the Republicans went ahead, with much internal divisiveness, suggesting only partial government funding.  The Obama administration, through the Senate, just sat back, watched these wild machinations with a smile and loudly proclaimed with faux moral outrage NO to any negotiations. The Republicans, at the last minute, self-imploded. Too bad.

The Republicans, should have simply refused to negotiate too, even if it prolonged the government shut-down and even if the debt limit was reached.  It was Obama's decision to shut-down the government and reject the House's continuing spending resolutions. By caving, the Republicans have essentially abrogated the Constitutional premise that it is the House that originates spending and grants the President a spending "allowance".  Now Obama will simply view the House as a rubber stamp to approve, without question, his unilateral spending/revenue demands.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Obama Shuts Down the US Government

Tease, actually the US Senate was responsible since they refused to adopt the spending bill forwarded to them by the US House of Representatives. Nevertheless, the responsibility for the shutdown of the US government ultimately still rests with Obama since the Democrats are acting as his proxies. Obama, himself, set the stage by stating that he will not negotiate with the Republicans, which tends to be an impediment to compromise. 

Obama has also gone on to say that after he gets what he wants from Congress in the way of a budget, that he would then be willing to have a "conversion" concerning the future of the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare).  Well that's an absurdity. Why would Obama all of a sudden negotiate after he received everything he demanded?  Not only that, but Obama already had 365 days (one budget cycle) to have that "conversation" with the Republicans, and he avoided making that a reality.

Furthermore, Obama has unilaterally made revisions to the Affordable Care Act, without the consent of the Congress. Obama has, on his own volition, changed the law, granted waivers, and delayed implementation of the Affordable Care Act.  An abuse of Executive Authority since the President is limited to implementing the law as passed by Congress, not changing it. Yet Obama refuses to negotiate with the US House of Representatives, which is a law making body. Again, if Obama refuses to work with the US House of Representatives to legally fix what is broken with the Affordable Care Act, it is Obama who is shutting down the US government.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Washingtopn Post Editorial Board Once Again Fails to Point the Finger-of-Blame at Obama

The Washington Post ran the editorial Social Security Disability Insurance needs major reform on September 21, 2013. There are two fundamental issues with this editorial.

One this editorial, in isolation, may not seem like much of a story; but it is one of many such stories.  As one example, the growth in food stamps.  USA Today reports: "In 2001, the program served 17 million people at a cost of just over $15 billion. By 2012, there were 46 million people enrolled in the program at a cost of a little under $75 billion."  Another example: Ever-increasing tax breaks for U.S. families eclipse benefits for special interests.

Secondly, Obama was elected to manage the government. Since Obama won the election it becomes his responsibility to fix issues, especially those that indicate rising corruption. Instead of explicitly pointing-the-finger of blame at Obama, the Washington Post Editorial Board lamely points to abstract concepts such as: "They found that technical and demographic factors such as those cited by defenders of SSDI explained no more than 56 percent of the program’s growth, suggesting that a substantial portion — at least 44 percent — is because of the kind of structural defects and perverse incentives that critics have cited." Well, it is the responsibility of Obama who happens to be President to be acting on this corruption. Obama has been in charge for five (5) years now.  The Post Editorial Board should be lambasting Obama for failing to take the initiative to solve the overgrowing Nanny State.

Yes a safety-net is needed.  But the Obama administration has apparently refused to take on the issue of defining appropriate levels of "entitlement".  It easier just to give more money, even though the US is running massive budget deficits. From the conspiracy angle, these are part of the "free" gifts that Obama is tossing-out the electorate to solicit votes. All that Obama sells is populism. Why else would the various entitlement programs be allowed to "explode" without appropriate oversight.

Fox News Interviews Bashar Al Assad, President of Syria

On September 18, 2013, Fox News interviewed Bashar Al Assad, the President of Syria.  Click here to access the YouTube video: Bashar Al Assad Fox News FULL Interview 9/18/2013.

Alternatively, the video can be accessed through this New York Times article: "Syria Releases Video of Fox News Interview With Assad".

The positive news is that a Western news station actually took the effort to seek out the the viewpoint of the Syrian government. Every story has two sides, unfortunately, most of the Western media seems to be comfortable with regurgitating propaganda as released by the US Government instead of independently verifying who is telling the truth.

A disappointment with the interview is that even-though the interviewers acknowledged that there is no proof that the Assad regime used the chemical weapons, nearly every question was asked within the context that it was the Assad regime that used the chemical weapons. A very unfair interview approach.

Who is telling the truth?  I don't know, but the US has had a history of not telling the truth itself. Most recently, others have questioned Kerry's death toll figures, which appear inflated. Previously, Collin Powell infamously claimed that Weapons of Mass Destruction existed in Iraq before the UN on February 5, 2013. Then there was the Gulf of Tonkin incident. Given these prior lapses in truthfulness, the interviewers should never have pushed questions on Assad based on supposed "facts" provided by the US Government. Maybe, someday, we will learn who used the chemical weapons.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Alan Grayson: ‘They have no smoking gun that the attack was ordered by Assad’

The above article was published in the Washington Post. My comment on this interview is that it overlooked an important concept. That we have a (misleading) public narrative based on an apparently false premise.  The (misleading) public discussion put forth by the media, politicians, and pundits is that Assad needs to be punished. 

But there is a critical step that we need to complete before getting to the punishment step. Mr. Grayson points out there is NO smoking gun. The public discussion should be on verifying who used the chemical weapons, not bombing Assad into oblivion for something that he may not have done.

Kerry's Tainted Syria Evidence

Today the Washington Post ran this article: "EU agrees that all indications on Syria chemical attack points to Assad". This article is yet another example of propaganda pushing the concept that Assad is to blame, even if proof cannot be found or manufactured. Consequently the media, politicians, and pundits focus on how the US should respond rather than the question of the who used the chemical weapons.  

What I consider critically important with this article, are the last two paragraphs:
"The U.S. blames Assad’s regime for the chemical attack and, citing intelligence reports, says sarin gas was used. The U.S. says 1,429 people died, including 426 children.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which collects information from a network of anti-regime activists, says it has only been able to confirm 502 dead."
Supporting the findings of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, the Nation previously reported: 
"Days later and we still have no idea where Secretary of State John Kerry got that amazingly precise number of 1,429 killed in the alleged Syria chemical agent attack. He hasn’t cited full sourcing for it or taken questions on that. He merely claims he can’t say because it would “compromise” intelligence, which sounds like utter bull. President Obama also cited the death toll as fact in public statements beating the drums for war.

And all other sources put the number a little or a lot lower. Why does this matter in the current debate? Obviously the higher number, particularly with the also unproven claim of more than 400 dead kids, is meant to sell a US military attack to the American people—and that’s why it’s a key claim. That 1,400 number makes the latest attack seem so much worse than earlier alleged Assad chem attacks, which we did not find horrible enough to claim they crossed the “red line.”
Should the data of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights be correct. Kerry clearly lied. Assuming that Kerry lied, the Obama administration’s claims become tainted and need to be verified.

Should your read this post, request that your elected representatives investigate who actually used the chemical weapons before they vote concerning a US response.

The Fundamental Flaw in Obama's Proposal to Conduct a Military Strike on Syria

There is NO smoking gun documenting that Assad used chemical weapons. Of course that does not mean that he did not use them. Due process requires that this issue be investigated by an independent third party.  The Syrian rebels may well have been the ones who discharged the chemical weapons.

The resolution of this question is critical as the news media, politicians, and pundits comment and offer advice based on the unproven assumption that it was Assad who used the chemical weapons. Consequently, those who support a military strike against Syria claim that we must blindly stand behind our President and that we have a moral obligation to teach Assad a "lesson".

If Assad did not use chemical weapons, these concerns evaporate. In fact, why should we follow a President based on faulty evidence and shouldn't we then teach the rebels a "lesson" if they were the ones to use the chemical weapons?

When the opportunity arises; request the politicians, media, and pundits to pursue an investigation as to who actually used the chemical weapons.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Syria - A US Foreign Policy Disgrace

I urge all of our Congress people to vote NO concerning a military strike on Syria.

There is currently no smoking-gun that documents that Assad actually used chemical weapons.  Sure, the Obama administration has dug-up selective “facts” that they cite to assert that Assad used the chemical weapons. But based on other un-truths, why should we believe the Obama administration?  

For example, Kerry in making the case for US military involvement claimed that at least 1,429 people died.  The Nation, however found this figure to be suspect. The Nation wrote: "Days later and we still have no idea where Secretary of State John Kerry got that amazingly precise number of 1,429 killed in the alleged Syria chemical agent attack. He hasn’t cited full sourcing for it or taken questions on that. He merely claims he can’t say because it would “compromise” intelligence, which sounds like utter bull." believes that the actual death toll is much lower: "Interviews with people in Damascus and Ghouta, a suburb of the Syrian capital, where the humanitarian agency Doctors Without Borders said at least 355 people had died last week from what it believed to be a neurotoxic agent, appear to indicate as much.".

Moreover, an internet search will disclose that the rebels may have been the ones who used the chemical weapons.  According to (May 31, 2013) Turkey found sarin gas in the homes of suspected Syrian Islamists.  writes: "Syrian rebels in the Damascus suburb of Ghouta have admitted to Associated Press correspondent Dale Gavlak that they were responsible for last week’s chemical weapons incident which western powers have blamed on Bashar Al-Assad’s forces, revealing that the casualties were the result of an accident caused by rebels mishandling chemical weapons provided to them by Saudi Arabia."

How truthful the above sites are, I do not know, but they do raise credible doubt concerning the Obama administration’s claims.  These claims must be investigated before taking any military action.  Even Putin called for further investigations.  The US, as of now, is making a rash and premature decision.

The Obama administration cites that over 100,000 people have died.  That figure may well be true, but the Obama administration ignores that this is a brutal civil-war.  Both sides are doing the killing.  The rebels are not simply standing in front of Assad's troops with flowers.

The Obama administration with much fervour points to Assad's atrocities.  Again the Obama administration purposely suppresses from the public the fact that the rebels also commit atrocities that are just as horrendous.  The New York Times on September 5, 2013 finally got around to publicly exposing rebel atrocities, in the article “Brutality of Syrian Rebels Posing Dilemma in West”.  Unfortunately, this article neglected to delve into the issue that the rebels have been targeting Christians.  According to (September 5, 2013) Syrian rebels attacked the Christian village of Maaloula and beheaded a Christian priest.  Clearly, if Obama seeks to punish Assad, Obama should also be explicitly condemning the rebels for their atrocities.  It is quite disingenuous of Obama to publicly assert that one person is “bad” and then to ignore the “bad” behaviour of others.  So who should the US bomb?

The Washington Post on September 5, 2013 wrote: “Obama and top administration officials have argued forcefully that a U.S.-led military strike is needed to enforce an international ban on the use of chemical weapons ...”. What's wrong with that statement? No one appointed Obama as the UN Secretary-General with the authority to enforce international law.  In fact, the real UN Secretary-General Ki-Moon was quoted by Reuters as stating: "U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said on Tuesday that the use of force is only legal when it is in self-defense or with Security Council authorization, remarks that appear to question the legality of U.S. plans to strike Syria without U.N. Backing."  Based on Mr. Ki-moon's statement, Obama is mistakenly asserting authority that he does not have.  Obama is making a mockery of due process.

The Obama administration has been “selling” the proposed attack on Syria as a simple limited, no boots on the ground, slap on the wrist to teach Assad a lesson.  Well, an attack on Syria, even if limited, is an act of war.  Assad would have a right to defend himself and may even strike-back.  The Obama administration apparently has not contemplated the fact that Assad, in defending Syria, could sink one of our warships and/or shoot down the cruise missiles.  What happens then?  Escalation?

What happens should the Syrian rebels win?  Will Syria become an Islamic theocratic state systematically practicing genocide on the few remaining Christians and murdering the Alawites?  Will Syria become unstable like Iraq and Egypt?  Simply getting rid of one tyrant will not mean that democracy will bloom or that another tyrant won't reemerge.  How will the Obama administration handle Syria then?

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Fixing/Repairing a Blank (Black) Screen in Ubuntu 13.04

I installed a new video card in my computer running Ubuntu 13.04. After rebooting I was greeted with a blank (black) screen. Bummer.

In my case, this was caused by the compiz and dconf files becoming corrupted in my home directory.  How they became corrupted is unknown.

One quick way to determine whether your compiz and dconf files in your home directory have become corrupted is to log into another user account on your computer and verify that a normal screen with the launcher/icons/notification areas are correctly displayed.  This proved to be the accidental clue that I needed to figure out to solve my blank screen.

Should you have a blank (black) screen resulting from this issue, you can still use the terminal and other short-cut keys to access/launch programs.

Please note that the compiz and dconf files are "hidden" files.

In researching this issue, I ran across two websites that offered potential solutions should you be experiencing a blank (black) screen.

Reset Unity and Gnome to default values [duplicate]

Please be aware that having a blank screen may result from a variety of issues.  This post is limited to suggesting how to restore the compiz and deconf files to a default state so that the launcher/icons/notification areas are restored.

Update: November 4, 2013. Updating to Ubuntu 13.10 resulted in a repeat of a blank (black) screen.  This was resolved by swapping the non-working Nvidia graphic card with another. A less than optimal solution for now. Evidently, it seems that Ubuntu is "slow" in recognizing certain graphic cards (Nvidia) during boot-up. Ubuntu should have identified that proprietary Nvidia drivers were available, but did not. The replacement graphic card was also an Nvidia card, but was recognized during boot-up. So, if you are experiencing the blank (black) screen this may be another consideration.

Update: November 15, 2013.  Well it appears that an associated, but unknown, Nvidia program may have caused the blank/black screen. The current Nvidia driver shown on another computer was 3.19. But for the problem computer it was still showing the Nvidia 3.04 driver.  After aggressively removing all Nvidia programs, the computer video worked as expected and was updated to version 3.19.

Update: December 7, 2013.  I ran across this post which attributes the blank (black) screen problem to nvidia-319-updates and nvidia-setting-319-updates.  Once these programs were removed it appears that the problem was solved. Please review the full thread: After upgrading black screen and cannot use gui on ubuntu 13.10.

Update: July 6, 2016. I ran across this post which is particularly good. The comments are instructive and educational. Basically, it solves the black screen problem by starting over.  How can I uninstall a nvidia driver completely ?

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Advice to the Republican High Command

This Saturday morning I was watching MSNBC. Predictably the commentators were claiming that the Republicans would use The Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) and the coming debt ceiling debate as excuses to shut-down the government. Unfortunately, these Democratic accusations have not been effectively refuted by the Republicans.  In fact the Democrats have been winning on the public relations front. Time for the Republicans to get their act together before they lose another round in the public arena.

Should a Republican with a degree of influence on Republican strategy accidentally stumble across Casual Observations, I would hope that they would encourage the Republicans strategy team incorporate some of the thoughts below.

The government can be funded without including funding for the Affordable Care Act.  Funding bills originate in the House, currently controlled by the Republicans.  If the Democrats are not willing to accept defunding or to suggest less onerous measures, the Republicans need to establish that it is the Democrats who are obstructing the development of a budget for FY-2014.

In terms of the debt ceiling, the solution is "simple"; stop spending.  Actually it is a combination of reduced spending and increased taxes.  The Republicans must consider increased taxes, but they must also propose real cuts. Again spending bills originate in the House and the House has not really taken an aggressive stance.  Consequently, the Democrats have successfully won two arguments, by claiming that Congress has mandated these expenses: 1. the need to increase the debt ceiling and 2. public relations. The Republicans have a bloody nose.

Since funding bills originate in the House, the Republicans need to propose a realistic budget that will not require an increase in the debt ceiling. Yes that will mean increased taxes.

Next, the Republicans need to implement a public relations campaign highlighting that the Obama administration is not being fiscally responsible since the Obama administration continues to spend fully knowing that they will bust the debt ceiling and expecting the House to simply role-over and accept this insult.  This is a slap-in-the face by the Obama administration. The House controls the "purse strings". Time for the House to stand-up on this issue and fight back.  If Obama does not accept his "allowance" it would be Obama who would be shutting the government down.

Furthermore, the Obama administration itself has also not made any realistic budget proposals.  It's literally tax and spend more.  The Democrats now make no pretence towards implementing a balanced budget.  Republicans need to highlight this continued never ending fiscal irresponsibility and implement a public relations campaign documenting that the President must work within the budget that Congress gives him.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Defunding the Affordable Care Act - Who's to Blame?

Politics is a game of words and posturing. It's all about structuring the argument.  As US the approaches the necessity to adopt a new budget for FY-2014, there have been initiatives raised that the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) be defunded for at least one year since the Obama administration is not ready to implement it.  Those who support the Affordable Care Act (including some who oppose it) claim that defunding it will shut-down the government. Amazingly even the Republicans seem to view a potential defunding as implying that the government would be shut-down and that they (Republicans) will be lambasted.

Wrong. It is the President, Obama in this case, who makes the final decision and signs any budget or appropriation bills that have been passed by Congress. Therefore, if Obama refuses to sign a spending bill that does not include funding for the Affordable Care Act, it is Obama who is shutting down the government. Obama has the choice.

Those in opposition to the funding the Affordable Care Act need to articulate that the government can be funded without funding the Affordable Care Act. Should Obama refuse to sign such a spending bill, the responsibility for shutting down the government rests with Obama.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

An Aside on Obama's Lame Purusit of Snowden

Edward Snowden recently released a bunch of classified documents to the world. The US now wants to arrest him for that egregious action, but Russia granted Snowden temporary asylum.  Zachary Goldfarb of the Washington Post reported that Obama was disappointed by Russia granting asylum to Snowden. In an unbecoming un-presidential hissy-fit Obama went on to cancel a proposed meeting with Putin.

Lost in the swirl of events is the hypocrisy of the Obama adminstration concerning asylum. To my knowledge, the US has not returned any defectors to the countries wanting them back to face prosecution for supposed crimes.  Techdirt has a very informative article: US Hypocrisy Exposed: Has A Long History Of Rejecting Extradition Requests.

I commented, as a response to that article, ""While not specifically a US incident, Jordan granted asylum to a Syrian pilot that "stole" a Syrian jet to defect to Jordan. Here is what the Obama administration stated according to CNN.

"Tommy Vietor, spokesman for the White House National Security Council, said, "We welcome this pilot's decision to do the right thing. We have long called for the military and members of the Syrian regime to defect and abandon their positions rather than be complicit in the regime's atrocities. (emphasis added)

"This is just one of countless instances where Syrians, including members of the security forces, have rejected the horrific actions of the Assad regime, and it certainly will not be the last."

So the Obama administration, on one hand, encourages the committing commission of illegal acts and claims that stealing and defecting is doing the right thing; but then when it comes to Snowden and Manning they claim that vile traitors traitorous acts were committed.

Particularly valuable was the comment by Andrew D. Todd who wrote: "The classic example of that kind of thing is Lieutenant Belenko, who was actually given American citizenship by a special act of congress, after defecting with a Soviet (Russian) Mig-25 fighter".

Wikipedia writes:  "His name became known worldwide on November 10, 1976, when he successfully defected to the West, flying his Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-25 "Foxbat" jet fighter to Hakodate, Japan. This was the first time that Western experts were able to get a close look at the aircraft, and it revealed many secrets and surprises. His defection caused a lot of damage to the Soviet Union Air Force. Belenko was granted asylum by U.S. President Gerald Ford, and a trust fund was set up for him, granting him a very comfortable living in later years. The U.S. Government interrogated and debriefed him for five months after his defection, and employed him as a consultant for several years thereafter.  ... In 1980, the U.S. Congress enacted S. 2961, authorizing citizenship for Belenko. It was signed into law by President Jimmy Carter on October 14, 1980, as Private Law 96-62." (emphasis added).

Bluntly, if the US grants asylum to traitors the US has no moral high ground on which to demand with inane gestures of exaggerated indignation that US "traitors" be returned to the US for prosecution.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Obama Latest Publicity Stunt - Closing Embassies

The Washington Post is reporting that: "The State Department extended the closure through Saturday for 19 embassies, consulates and smaller posts “out of an abundance of caution,” spokeswoman Jen Psaki said in a written statement Sunday. Several other posts, including embassies in Kabul and Baghdad, will reopen Monday."  One has to wonder if this isn't really just a manufactured high visibility publicity stunt along the lines of "Wag the Dog".  After all, the growing scandals of the Obama administration "force" Obama to come-up with diversions, distractions, and distortions to get the public's mind off the scandals.

Closing the diplomatic facilities overtly means that the terrorists have won another round. Instead of taking an offensive action of some type, the US is assuming a bunker mentality. Hardly an appropriate course of action for a supposed superpower.

Closing the diplomatic facilities is a false solution. The US media is broadcasting these closures to the world. As one pundit expressed, the terrorists simply wait till they open again.

Many pundits, when Snowden absconded with NSA secrets, claimed that he had done irreparable harm since the terrorists would now know how to circumvent NSA technologies. If that is the case, how would we know of the supposed chatter?  Not to mention, that the terrorists may have simply planted fake chatter knowing that the NSA was listening in and would mindlessly spread FUD.

Getting back to Snowden, if his leaks were so damaging, why is the administration itself leaking information?  It is my understanding, that the leaking of classified information by the Obama administration resulted in a Pakistani doctor (Shakeel Afridi) going to jail. Which of course raises the issue, will the disclosure of this information result in some US intelligence assets being compromised?

Benghazi - Hillary Clinton's Disgraceful Comments

When the US facility at Benghazi was attacked on Sept. 11, 2012 the Obama administration claimed that the attack was in reaction to a vile anti-Islamic video. Those who committed the violence, it was claimed, were outraged by that video. On Sept. 15, 2012, this U-Tube video was posted: "Hillary Clinton blames Anti-Islam Film for violence in Mid East" In that video, Ms. Clinton never once placed blame on those committing the acts of violence. Instead, she disparagingly refers to how repulsive this video is. What's wrong?

Well, Ms. Clinton at the time was US Secretary of State. In the US we supposedly have the right to freedom of expression, even if it repulsive. As US Secretary of State Ms. Clinton should have been outraged over those committing the violence and defended the right to freedom of expression by those who created the video (Nakoula Basseley Nakoula). Essentially, Ms. Clinton - as US Secretary of State - was disgracefully undermining the US and giving tacit approval to those committing the violence. Or to phrase this a bit differently, Ms. Clinton was essentially blaming the victim of a rape (for his/her freedom of expression) and not the rapist (who committed the act of violence).

In doing the background search for this post, Ms. Clinton - in another - U-Tube video did lay appropriate blame on those who committed the violence. "Obama and Hillary Blame Youtube Video for Benghazi Terrorist Attack as Coffins Arrive". However, words for politicians are incredibly "cheap". Did Ms. Clinton actually mean what she said or was her statement simply a polished "evolution" of empty talking points as a half-hearted attempt to address criticism of her prior unrealized misstatements?

Furthermore, Ms. Clinton spoke of getting to the bottom of this issue. But is the administration doing that? Fox News, on January 23, 2013, reported Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Calif.) as saying: "The only people I know who are in jail right now is the filmmaker. Isn't that disconcerting?".  Obama recently referred to the growing list of scandals as being "phony".

Moreover, Wikipedia writes: "On November 28, 2012, an Egyptian court sentenced him [Nakoula Basseley Nakoula], along with several other Coptic Christians and anti-Islam preacher Terry Jones, to death in absentia for defaming Islam." So Ms. Clinton expresses, in a public forum, extreme outrage against an anti-Islamic video claiming that it is repulsive. Yet when it came to this inappropriate "death sentence" imposed by the Islamic culture, Ms. Clinton is apparently conveniently silent. Clearly Ms. Clinton, when she was Secretary of State, failed to defend freedom of speech ands was indirectly undermining the US by inappropriately "accepting blame" instead of pointing out that persons who are Muslim do not have a right to commit violence based on some perceived "offense".

Saturday, March 2, 2013

A Nefarious Plot by Obama?

Obama, when he gave his hysterical fiscal Armageddon speech, implied that many government services would have to be curtailed, such as public safety.  Following that speech, The Washington Post released this story: "DHS releases hundreds of illegal immigrants from immigration jails ahead of budget sequester" (Link "dead").  The Associated Press wrote: "A week before mandatory budget cuts go into effect across the government, the Department of Homeland Security has started releasing illegal immigrants being held in immigration jails across the country, Immigration and Customs Enforcement said Tuesday."

This story has been followed-up by several others, doing the usual "clarifications". Most recently, the Washington Post published this Associated Press story: "Gov’t freed more than 2,000 immigrants from jail since mid-February, planned 3,000 more" (Link "dead"),  According to the Associated Press: "The Homeland Security Department released from its jails more than 2,000 illegal immigrants facing deportation in recent weeks due to looming budget cuts and planned to release 3,000 more during March, The Associated Press has learned.  .... The White House has said it was not consulted about the releases, and Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano has acknowledged they occurred in a manner she regrets."

Since this story is evolving, I would encourage you to undertake some of your own researching.

Whether this was a nefarious blatant attempt make Obama's doomsday predictions a reality is unknown to me. It could simply be a coincidental ill-timed case of poor management.

Feeling the Obama Fiscal Pain

Seems that Obama wants you to be very aware of the "pain", yet Obama fails to propose a solution. I was going to include this article in the prior post, but couldn't find it. Now, it has popped-up once again in the the Washington Post. "White House estimates of state-by-state impacts of sequestration".  This article, as with others, exposes Obama's disingenuous manipulation of the sequester debate. 

Instead of preparing a blow by blow account of the fiscal "pain" to be inflicted by the sequester, the Obama administration should have prepared a draft 2014 budget proposal and submitted it the House. The Budget proposal is now a month late. Since Obama is displeased with the sequester, it is his responsibility to offer his "smart scalpel" solution in that budget proposal. Instead of taking the leadership and initiative to offer a budgetary solution, Obama simply raises the specter of fear and financial Armageddon.

Obama has repeatedly stated that he is "above politics", that he is "transparent", that we have tough painful decisions to make. Where is the overdue legally required draft 2014 budget proposal that would suggest the tough painful decisions to be implemented?

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Obama's Manufactured Sequester Armageddon

Obama has periodically decried Kabuki theater style "manufactured" crises and urged the political community to make long-term decisions instead of temporary short-term fixes that simply kick-the-can to a later date. Yet that is exactly the shameful histrionic strategy that Obama is pursuing.  U-tube video of Obama's February 19, 2013 speech.

The Obama administration proposed the sequester, worked it through the Congressional approval process and signed into law back in August 2011 as part of the Budget Control Act.  The fact that the Obama administration initiated the sequester proposal and pushed it through was the subject of  Bob Woodward's article: "White House initiated automatic spending cuts". Now Obama wants to renege on his sequester.

Since Obama's February 19, 2013 speech the media and Obama have been spewing fear and hysteria towards the electorate asserting financial Armageddon if implementation of the sequester is not aborted. The Washington Post quotes Obama: "“It won’t help the economy. It won’t create jobs. It will visit hardship on a whole lot of people,” the president said. The cuts, he added, will “add hundreds of thousands of Americans to the unemployment rolls""

These last minute desperate actions by the Obama administration negate Obama's faux assertions that he does not want manufactured crises. He uses them as an excuse to inflame public outrage. In George Will's opinion piece:  "The manufactured crisis of sequester", Mr. Will quotes Obama's intentional use of highly inflammatory, manipulative, abstract derogatory words: "“meat-cleaver approach” of “severe,” “arbitrary” and “brutal” cuts will “eviscerate” education, energy and medical research spending".  Link to Obama's speech: Obama's February 19, 2013 speech.

The proposed sequester simply cannot have the draconian doomsday hyped by Obama. All that the sequester will do is spend slightly less then proposed future spending. To phrase this differently, suppose you spent $50,000 in 2012. In 2013, you propose to spend $52,000. According to Mr. Will the sequester is a 2.3% reduction to future spending. Based on a hypothetical $52,000 projected budget that comes to an approximate $1,200 spending reduction to future spending. So for 2013, you get to spend $50,800, an $800 increase over 2012. So how would that "eviscerate" programs!!!

Besides spreading doomsday fears, Obama neglects that that his administration has had over a year to plan for the ill conceived "meat clever".  So where is Obama's much vaunted scalpel to make the so-called appropriate sane reductions?  Moreover, before signing the bill one would have expected Obama to have checked the financial implications. Apparently he did not. Obama even vowed to veto any proposal that would undo the sequester.  Now one week before the deadline, Obama alleges that it will be an economic catastrophe. Since Obama is now all of a sudden magically predicting Armageddon, it would imply that Obama failed to do his homework before signing the bill. Obama consequently owns this sequester. It should be Obama's responsibility to fix, not to blame Congress.

Yet Obama, at the last minute, demands - with human props standing behind him - that Congress fix his leadership failure. The Post quoting Obama wrote: "“So now Republicans in Congress face a simple choice,” Obama said. “Are they willing to compromise to protect vital investment in education, health care, national security and all the jobs that depend on them? Or would they rather put hundreds of thousands of jobs and our entire economy at risk just to protect a few special interest tax loopholes that benefit only the wealthiest Americans and the biggest corporations? That’s the choice.”" Obama had over a year to either propose a fix or prepare for implementing the sequester. Obama also has failed to put a budget proposal into writing and submit it to Congress.

Obama has repeatedly called for a "fair and balanced approach to deficit reduction", yet Obama fails to put a real proposal on the table.  Instead, this Nation goes from one Obama "manufactured" Kabuki theater crises to another with only short-term temporary kick-the-can-down-the-road non-solutions. Theatrical crisis-driven grandstanding is no way to run a country.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Obama's Budget Avoidance

The sequester deadline draws near and the rhetoric is increasingly hysterical. According to some, doomsday will occur. The Washington Post recently published: "Obama presses Congress for Stopgap Sequester Fix" which struck me a particularly odd. The reason, the sequestration was the brainchild of the Obama administration itself. Mr. Kessler of the Washington Post exposed this through his article: "Obama’s fanciful claim that Congress ‘proposed’ the sequester".

Now, Obama wants to weasel out of the very agreement that he promoted. KSY_in_NOVA provided the following U-Tube Links. The first to Obama glorifying the sequester with Obama making a grand assertion of total complete commitment to the sequester.  U-tube video: "President Obama: I will veto any effort to get rid of the sequester cuts". Spin forward to today and Obama is now disavowing his prior commitment. Obama is now on the bully-pulpit frantically fanning the flames of fear, uncertainty and doubt (FUD).  U-Tube video: "Obama: People will lose jobs over forced cuts". Particularly duplicitous is the blame-game claim by Obama that the sequester (which Obama promoted and signed) is a Congressional "meat clever" that will devastate the economy.  What does Obama's manufactured hyperbolic crises and fear mongering have to do with Obama's required draft budget proposal to the House?

Obama was required to submit a draft budget proposal to the US House of Representatives by early February 2013 for FY 2014. He has failed to do so. Obama is now pressing for Congress to propose a stopgap "fix" to the sequester.  The word "fix" really being a euphemism that would allow Obama to repudiate a deal he proposed and agreed to. Obama by going back on his promise is not committed to upholding his word.

Since the sequester and the proposed budget have approximate deadlines, a simple logical approach for Obama would have been to suggest through the draft budget an alternative the sequester. After all it is Obama who is seeking to renege on his deal so he should take the initiative to offer an alternative. Instead of offering an alternative budget proposal Obama arrogantly demands that Congress provide him with a budget proposal.

What does this mean, in terms of the overall budgetary process? Obama has repeatedly asserted how he has a "fair and balanced approach to deficit spending", yet he has failed to put that into writing.  The most current example, Obama has not yet released his 2014 draft budget proposal and is now proposing to renege on the sequester that Obama originally asserted would constitute part of his deficit reduction efforts. Instead of taking the imitative to prepare an alternative to the sequester, Obama arrogantly demands that Congress to give him a draft budget proposal. 

I assume that Obama is playing this loathsome budgetary game, so that he can vilify any proposed budget that the House offers.  Yet Obama refuses to meet budgetary deadlines or disclose his budgetary plans. Quite contemptuous for Obama to demand to see the others "cards" while refusing to show your "cards".  Furthermore, this clearly illustrate the fact that Obama simply does not want the public to actually evaluate his budgetary plans. By extension and Obama's current efforts to renege, any Obama's budget proposal is likely to be nothing more than meaningless smoke and mirrors.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

How to Auto-Mount an External (Networked) USB Flash Drive

Backing-up your user files onto a different storage device is very important.  Backing them up onto another location on your hard drive works, but if it fails you potentially lose your files.  For that reason it is better to back them up onto another hard drive, CD/DVD, or USB flash drive.

In my case, I elected to use my home router an Asus RT-56U which happens to have two USB ports. Why the home router? Simple - its on 24/7 - so it will always be on.  I installed a 64 GB USB flash drive in one of the USB slots.

Before going further, this advice pertains to Linux, specifically Ubuntu 12.XX.  The mounting of a storage device at boot time in Linux can be accomplished by editing the fstab (Wikipedia). Additional file format specifications here

My initial attempts to auto-mount the USB flash drive failed. In finding out why that failed I discovered that the file format that needed to be used in the fstab file is cifs. Unfortunately, cifs is only occasionally listed as being an available file format for fstab. After figuring that out, things still did not work as expected. After a bit more research it turned out that two Linux utility programs needed to be installed before fstab would accept the cifs file format option.

Please see this Ubuntu  topic: 12.10 cifs shares not mounting after modifying /etc/fstab

The first utility that needs to be installed: sudo apt-get install cifs-utils

The second utility that needs to be installed: sudo apt-get install smbnetfs

After installing these utilities, fstab still did not auto-mount the USB flash drive!! Unbelievable shock. More research once again. A couple of issues remained. One, through trial and error, that the permissible options that are allowed for fstab may not work when using the cifs file system option. For example the "sync" fstab option resulted in failure when the cifs file option was used. Second, realizing that Linux is case sensitive, I played around various capitalization schemes. Finally success, the name of the router needed to be in capital letters.

Working line of code for the fstab file: //RT-N56U/sda1 /media/usbdrive cifs guest,rw,nofail 0 0 

Update 4/25/2013: The upgrade to Ubuntu 13.04 resulted in the code above failing. Revised Code: //RT-N56U/sda1 /media/usbdrive cifs sec=ntlm,guest,rw,nofail 0 0

Thanks to Alan Brown: Xubuntu 13.04 - cifs-utils not working.

The code above is very basic, there may be additional options that could be added. If you know of any cifs compatible options that should be added, please leave a response.

I hope that his post proves useful for auto-mounting a USB flash drive to a networked device. But before following any of the advice above, I would encourage you to do additional research. Good luck.

Addendum (1/29/2013):  The story behind this post, is that I am using sbackup as the back-up program to save my files. sbackup proved to be finicky. It would back-up OK to devices already mounted, but it would periodically fail when backing-up to a device which the program had to mount.  This issue has apparently been resolved now by auto-mounting the USB flash drive at boot-up time.  After a week of back-up testing I have not received an error message.

Addendum (4/28/2014):  I ran across this article under the Ubuntu Community Support Wiki. MountWindowsSharesPermanently. At the time of this posting, the article contains a flag noting that the article requires updating. Nevertheless, it may be a useful resource.

If the post contains any errors or needs other improvements, please let me know.